Democracy Lab 23-27 May, Madrid

Explore tools, processes and strategies for democratic participation

Democratic Cities – Commons technology and the right to a democratic city taking place from the 23–28 May in Madrid, will gather together +400 participants to discuss network democracy, new forms of citizen participation, digital tools for democratic participation, and urban commons for democratic cities. The event begins with a five-day Democracy Lab (23–27 May, Medialab-Prado) delivering workshops, hackathons and open sessions to develop, think and design tools, processes and strategies for democratic participation.

The Democracy Lab 23-27 May invites civic society organizations, innovators, citizens, companies, and public sector officials to get more hands-on knowledge on how to set up and sustain successful citizen-driven organizations enabled by digital technology and gaining the largest social and political impact.

Experiences of digital democracy tools, participatory methods for large scale collaboration, and collective platforms will be shared. The synergetic effect of the Democracy Lab is that all these players, and organisations that are innovating and changing democracy, are in Madrid for five days to demonstrate and share pragmatic learnings.

What can you expect from the Democracy Lab?

The five days will offer a wide range of hands-on trainings, workshops, hackathons and a two-day unconference, which will have presentations selected via Open Call. View the full programme here and register for sessions.

D-CENT project will host several sessions showcasing open source and privacy-aware Digital Democracy tools that have been piloted and tested across Europe with political parties, Cities, and bottom-up citizens movements, during the last two years. will be addressing important questions around decentralisation of tools (hosting, mail, contacts, calendars) and the use of open standards.

The week will start with a workshop hosted by the City of Barcelona and LaboDemo, on how to set up a Network of democratic Rebel Cities. Participants will be trained on how to manage a horizontal, transparent and collaborative network for large scale participation to integrate collective intelligence of citizens into the policy making process, and how to define shared principles and processes for democratic organizations.

Another session of interest in the Democracy Lab will be about using open data, and data journalism to empower citizens and deploy network analyses to map out the current political and power system to make it more transparent and accessible to citizens. In collaboration with Fundació Civio, this datathon will share datasets of networks from Decide Madrid and demonstrate how to explore and navigate the data. Democracy Lab is also hosting a Coding Democracy hackathon that will contribute to Consul, the biggest open source participation platform in Spain.

One of the highlights of the Democracy Lab will be the unconference on May 25–26, promoting Initiatives for open democracy and a decentralized Internet hosted by D-CENT project,, and This event will provide an open space for initiatives developing privacy-aware, open source, and distributed technologies to showcase their work, share demos, debate and plan future development, towards a federated, commons-based and privacy-aware digital democracy ecosystem. It will bring together technologists, activists, journalists, policy-makers, civil servants, academics, lawyers, designers and startups working in the field of citizen empowerment and bottom-up participation. Running in the format of “unconference” means that it will include lightning talks, hands on workshops and presentations selected and scheduled by attendees on the day.

On Friday 27th Bruno Kaufmann (Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe) will host a workshop How to make modern direct democracy to work that aims to produce a short-list of concrete practical steps towards making modern direct democracy work at the local, regional, national and transnational level.


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